Time to admit it “healthcare in the US is a mess”

  • Even with health insurance, more than a third of the respondents in a recent survey had spent all or most of their savings while sick. They are often faced with deductibles and co-payments; treatments their insurance won’t cover.
  • Among people with health insurance, more than 20 percent had trouble paying for basic necessities. More than a quarter had bills in collection, and 13 percent had borrowed money as a result of their illness.
  • The annual cost for a family to get health coverage from an employer plan rose 5% to $19,616 this year, according to recently released data from the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • Workers contributed $5,547 for family coverage, on average, in 2018, up 65% since 2008, and $1,186 for single coverage.
  • About 25 percent of adults in a recent poll said that they or a family member have avoided seeking medical attention because of the cost.

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Drug pricing in ads means nothing

  • The Trump administration is moving forward with new rules that would require drug companies to disclose their prices, rejecting the industry’s efforts to preempt those regulations
  • The “list price” of prescription drugs doesn’t mean anything to patients.
  • Alex Azar is “sticking it” to PhRMA, pharma’s trade organization.

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The quest for online health information

  • Nearly 80 percent of the patients who looked up things online before seeing a doctor reported that their searches actually improved their experience. (Source: Anthony M. Cocco, a doctor at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, and the lead author on a recent scientific study about the search habits of people before they show up in an E.R.)
  • In one study, researchers found that only one of the top 54 results for “endometriosis” — the subject of over 4.5 million searches annually — led to a page that contained what was deemed to be accurate information about the condition.
  • The study’s author recommends skipping the kind of scientific papers you might find on Google Scholar or PubMed; they often contain unusual cases and bewildering terminology.

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Growth in the cost of health care has put sustained downward pressure on wages and incomes

  • Rapid growth in the cost of U.S. health care has put sustained downward pressure on wages and incomes.
  • This rapid growth of spending has not purchased notably high-quality care, however.
  • U.S. spending on health care is higher than in peer countries, while quality is lower.
  • These high costs cannot be attributed to overuse of health care in America; instead, it is clear that the high price of health care is the culprit. Prices for pharmaceuticals, physician salaries, and medical procedures are almost uniformly higher in the U.S. than in peer countries—sometimes staggeringly so.

Source:Economic Policy Institute 

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The EHR market is ripe for major disruption

  • Current EHR’s are not user friendly and often despised by HCP’s.
  • Patients feel that EHR’s belong to them and want to be able to share their health records easily with other doctors.
  • The real potential is for user friendly EHR’s that offer patients and physicians a great online experience.
  • The opportunity to engage patients based on their EHR’s is enormous, but it requires a shift from “selling” to “educating & informing”.

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Are patients going to replace their doctor with an app?

  • Ada, a London and Berlin-based health tech startup just received major funding from Bill and Melinda Gates.
  • Ada isn’t claiming to replace your doctor anytime soon, but patients may do just that which could worsen a serious health problem.
  • A Harvard Medical School study found that symptom checkers, those tools that ask for information and suggest a diagnosis, are accurate only about half of the time.

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